Taoiseach Enda Kenny has turned the sod on a new €100m expansion of the Jameson whiskey distillery in Midleton, Co Cork.
Jameson owners Irish Distillers previously announced the investment to accommodate rising demand for Irish whiskey around the world, with some 3.4 million cases of Jameson sold last year and the distillery now operating at full capacity.
The investment will create 250 construction jobs, while 60 manufacturing and technical jobs will also be created, 30 in the Midleton distillery, and a further 30 in the Fox and Geese bottling plant in Dublin, bringing the company’s total employee numbers in Ireland to 560.
The expansion is due to take place over the next 24 months while a further €100m is being spent developing a new satellite maturation facility at Dungourney, Co. Cork.
The Taoiseach’s visit also marked the 20th anniversary of the Jameson Experience, the Jameson visitor centre in Midleton, which has welcomed in excess of two million visitors since it first opened its doors in 1992.
"Today marks a significant day in the future of Irish whiskey production, and the entire food and drinks export industry, as well as for the local economy here in Cork, which has greatly benefited from the presence of both the distillery and the Jameson Experience visitors centre," Mr Kenny said.
"By taking advantage of a supportive and stable economic environment Irish brands can continue to increase exports worldwide.
"The success of the distillery here in Midleton, and its visitors centre is to be commended and I wish the company every success with its expansion plans.”
Irish Distillers CEO Anna Malmhake said it was a "fantastic day" for the company.
" With a tradition dating back to 1780, Jameson has been distilled in the Midleton distillery since 1975 and we are delighted to confirm our commitment to this tradition, " she said.